Scotland Fans Have The Right To Boo One Of Their Own

Football has quite a few topics that create great debate and division between those that love the game.

Off the top of my head such topics include players not celebrating against former teams, whether a challenge merited a red card or not and should Arsene Wenger leave Arsenal or stay forever.

In Scotland last night we had one about the Tartan Army booing one of their own players, Chris Martin, when he came off the bench on the eighty-second minute in the World Cup qualifier against Slovenia.

It’s fair to say that Martin hasn’t really shone too much in a Scotland jersey. So when his arrival was announced towards the end of the game, the home fans made it clear that he wasn’t entirely welcome.

Those boos and jeers soon turned to celebration and cheers as Martin steered home a late winner for Scotland and now their qualifying group looks slightly better.

Some folk went on social media and berated the Scottish fans that booed the eventual goalscorer. As did Tv pundits and newspaper columnist’s and current footballers like Kris Boyd.

Personally I’ve never booed a player playing for my team and certainly not booed the side during a match, but that being said I fully support any fan in the stadium that feels passionate enough about their team that they’d boo one of their own.

People can call it pathetic, unwarranted and state that it ultimately achieves very little. But these football fans have chosen to go to Hampden and pay a fair few bob to voice their frustration.

Look Scotland haven’t been to a major competition since France 98. The squads often look uninspiring, we’ve struggled so far in this campaign and our manager Gordon Strachan hasn’t seemed up to the task.

In the meantime the fans are continually fleeced. If they are diehard supporters then they’ll be members of the supporters club, get season tickets to all the games (which only ever seems to go up), buy merchandise like replica tops (again not cheap), travel to Hampden plus travel to some away fixtures too. If they can’t get to the games, then they’ll need to pay to watch their side on TV.

Yes we won last night, yes the sub that the fans booed scored and yes the manager will stay on for the remainder of the campaign due to him finally getting a selection call right. But it’s still far from being rosy.

Martin reacted in the right way to the criticism and produced when it mattered. He came out afterwards and said he wasn’t listening to the crowd and was just concentrating on what he had to do. That’s the best thing he could’ve said and done.

Gordon Strachan, his managerial team and the SFA were calling on the fans to turn up to Hampden, no matter what.

Assistant boss Mark McGhee said in the build up for the match:

“I would only implore the supporters to at worst come along and if we’re rubbish then boo us.”

That was clearly an invitation some of the support took to heart.

Now we’ve often heard from Strachan that this squad have a bit of a complex, maybe just maybe the fans turning on them can help the side get over that particular barrier. They need to toughen up!

Again it might not be overly productive to boo your own stars but in this world of footballing business, I’ll always stand up for the fans that actually turn up, pay with their hard earned cash and support the team and if they want to vent then let them.

It’s up to the manager and his players to make sure they respond in the right way and give the fans little to be angry about in the first place.

Premier League Relegation Battle

The Premier League relegation battle seems to be more interesting that the title race. The reigning champions Leicester City are among the teams who are fighting for survival, but the likes of Bournemouth, Swansea City, Crystal Palace, Middlesbrough, Hull City and Sunderland are sitting in the danger zone as well. With so many teams being in the relegation zone we had a quick chat with Craig Wilkerson, football expert at FootballPredictions.com, to see what his view is on the latest results in the Premier League.

Leicester City

Leicester City did well to beat the odds and win the Premier League title last season, but, as things stand now, the Foxes would be more than happy if they avoid relegation to the Championship at the end of the 2016/2017 season. Against all odds, Claudio Ranieri got fired, but it seems as if new coach Craig Shakespeare is on the right track to get the club away from the relegation trouble. The new boss marked his Leicester City debut with a thrilling 3-1 win and, to make things even better for the fans, the Foxes outplayed fellow relegation strugglers Hull City in their last league match. Taking everything into account, we predict that Craig Shakespeare’s team will secure the top flight survival as they seem to be on top of their game at the moment.

Swansea City

Swansea City experienced all sorts of problems in the first half of the season, but the Welsh outfit have been producing scintillating displays under Paul Clement in 2017 and they are on the right track to secure the elite division survival. Fernando Llorente has found his goal-scoring touch and considering that Gylfi Sigurdsson continues to impress in the Premier League, we believe that the Swans will stay in the English top flight. A win over Hull City on Matchday 28 would see them move one step closer to meeting the goal.

Crystal Palace

Over the years Crystal Palace have established themselves as a mid-table side in the Premier League, but their top flight status is in great danger at the moment. The club chiefs have faith in experienced tactician Sam Allardyce, who is certainly capable of helping the capital club avoid the drop to the Championship. The Eagles recorded back-to-back wins over the likes of Middlesbrough and WBA in previous two league fixtures, but it has to be noted that they face a tough fixture list in the remainder of the season. Sam Allardyce’s team will face the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester United and Manchester City before the season comes to an end, but the Big Sam knows everything about football and we believe that the Eagles will participate in the Premier League next season.

Hull City

Hull City chiefs did well to reinforce the squad in the January transfer window and, as a result, the Tigers outplayed star-studded Liverpool at their KCOM Stadium on Matchday 24. Marco Silva’s men, though, are on a three-game winless run in the league ahead of the visit of Swansea City and they need to grab something from the game if they are to keep their hopes of securing the top flight survival alive. Many football predictions are pointing towards Hull City dropping to the Championship, but considering that they face an easy fixture list in the second half of the season, we are positive that they will prove the doubters wrong.

Bournemouth

Thanks to a 1-1 draw with Manchester United, Bournemouth put an end to a four-game losing run in the league, but they were more than fortunate not to suffer a loss to Jose Mourinho’s team at Old Trafford. That draw was followed with a vital win over West Ham.  The Cherries had been struggling in the Premier League ever since key attacker Callum Wilson suffered a serious injury and we predict that he’ll be sorely missed in the remainder of the season. Eddie Howe’s troops have yet to face the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham in the second half of the season and we would not be surprised if they fail to avoid the relegation to the Championship.

Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough have already proved their worth in matches against top-table sides, but Aitor Karanka’s men will have to be at their sharpest in relegation six-pointers if they are to survive in the Premier League. The Boro failed to find the net in previous four league fixtures; the newcomers struggle in front of goal and that has been the team’s biggest problem so far this 2016/2017 season. The Riverside Stadium outfit face a difficult fixture list in days to come and it is no surprise they have slim chances of keeping their Premier League status.

Sunderland

Sunderland are one of the EPL teams who always struggle in the first half of the season, but they somehow find a way to retain their Premier League status. Last season Sam Allardyce helped the Black Cats secure the top flight survival and it remains to be seen if David Moyes is capable of repeating the “success”. Sunderland are six points behind the safe zone ahead of Matchday 28 and they will have to be at their sharpest in upcoming fixtures if they are to finish the season above bottom three. Anyhow, they are regarded as main favourites to go down at the end of the season.

Taking everything into account, we predict that the likes of Bournemouth, Middlesbrough and Sunderland are likely to drop to the Championship at the end of the season as their current performances leave a lot to be desired. With many clashes coming up in the end of the season we managed to get permission of Craig Wilkerson and his team to share the upcoming Premier League fixtures on https://footballpredictions.com/footballpredictions/premierleaguepredictions/ with you!

Scottish Press Need To Calm Down And Give Pedro Caixinha Time At Rangers

So it looks certain that Portuguese manager Pedro Caixinha is about to become the next Rangers boss.

Qatari club Al-Gharafa have said as much on their Twitter feed:

If all goes to plan then the forty-six year old will be at Celtic Park on Sunday and take in the Old Firm game from the stands before starting his duties on Monday morning.

The fact is this, I know very little about the Pedro and the Scottish media haven’t got him sussed yet either.

His appointment has been a bit of a surprise. His CV is vast in terms of teams that he’s work with but it’s not exactly full of headline names.

Yes he’s done well in Mexico and in Qatar but these are regions that miss most of us with an interest in Scottish football. We can’t stand the heat and very rarely venture away from the UK or Europe for our footballing fixes.

Now sometimes it seems the main attributes needed to become a football writer or pundit in Scotland are that you need to be able to tell the future like Mystic Meg and stubbornly argue your point like a Donald Trump or a Nigel Farage.

Listen I’ve often fallen into the trap and offered too much in my writing that passes as telling the future. But alas my opinion is as fallible as the next punter or writer, I predicted that Leicester City would get relegated last season and I also stated with great confidence that Bert Konterman would be a terrific defender for Rangers back in the year 2000.

Obviously I got both predictions spectacularly wrong. The Foxes went on to win the Premier League title against every odd imaginable and Konterman, god love him, was a dud at the back for the Glasgow giants.

So getting back to the incoming Pedro Caixinha. I find it odd how so many people have been able to judge the man, especially when they know very little about him.

Former Gers midfielder Derek Ferguson had this to say:

“At the time, because he was a top class coach, everybody was excited by it. He tried to change the culture of the club, the way they played.

“One thing about Scottish football and it might not be the best but we have aggression and passion. That’s part of our identity. Take that away and we lose a lot.”

“I think that’s maybe why the Portuguese coach is a gamble.

“In my opinion they should go for a British-based manager. Somebody who knows a bit about the club. If it was my decision it would be someone with Rangers running through their veins.”

So basically Derek is comparing the new man to Paul Le Guen and Derek also wants someone like his wee brother Barry to take on the job.

I never get the great rush to give a manager a job just because he knows the club. Hell I know the club, get me in!

I agree Mark Warburton didn’t get how big the club was but that was with Davie Weir (a former Gers captain) as his number two.

Tony Mowbray struggled to deal with the size of Celtic and yet he played for them and had previously managed in Scotland.

We need to look past the mentality that no one without any previous association can boss a football club. In England the top five sides are managed by gaffers without previous allegiances to their current clubs. It might actually be a good thing to come in without too much baggage or precise knowledge.

Former Rangers winger Neil McCann has also queried the decision to give Pedro the job:

“I think they’ll entertain a wide variety of coaches, but I’d be surprised if they go for someone like that. I don’t know too much about him, I have to be honest,”

“Would that be the right guy to come into this club at the minute? Does he know the environment? I imagine, being Portuguese, he’d speak to Pedro Mendes, who spent a lot of time here and might give him the basis.”

McCann does well in highlighting my main points, at least he admits that he knows very little about the man.

He too questions Caixinha’s knowledge on Scottish football. Well he earned his coaching badges here, so he’ll probably know more about our game than most realise. Plus our game isn’t vastly different from anyone else’s. It’s all about being able to adapt, with both the manager and the players  having to adapt to each other. It’s one thing Warburton really struggled with.

Some of Pedro’s coaching methods will work, others will need altered to work and others will need the bin. It’s as simple as that.

I love the fact that Neil believes that just because they both come from Portugal, that he can easily contact Pedro Mendes and get the lowdown from him.

Kris Boyd wrote the following in his Sun column:

‘No harm to Caixinha. I don’t mean any disrespect to him personally.’

‘But other than a decent spell in Mexico his CV doesn’t exactly fill me with excitement.’

‘Half the teams on there I can’t even pronounce! He will be used to working with technical players — but there’s not enough of them at Ibrox.’

The former Gers Hitman showing here that subtlety isn’t one of his strong points, I’d like to see him being directly disrespectful to someone.

He can’t say certain team names, yet he knows exactly how they play… Hmm that’s a bit odd.

We can’t stay stuck in this 1970s attitude about foreign coaches and their styles.

According to a lot of these pundits and writers, we have a passionate and physical style. Great, so how is that working out for our clubs in Europe? Is it working for our national team?

Nope. It doesn’t work, we actually need new ideas and methods.

I’m getting sick and tired hearing from all these old duffers talking about our game and who are keen on resisting change.

The same thing happened when Hearts hired Ian Cathro as their head coach earlier in the campaign. He’s too young, hasn’t got a big enough CV and relies too much on new technology. People were up in arms when Cathro took over, some were frothing at the mouth.

Like Pedro Caixinha, Ian Cathro was being judged before he managed his first game. They are ecstatic that he’s so far struggled to live up to the Harry Potter style story that they themselves had built up and knocked down before a ball was kicked in anger.

The fact is that Cathro is still very much a work in progress and shouldn’t be judged until the end of his first full season in charge at Tynecastle.

The same old nonsense has started with people are discussing Rangers hiring a director of football.

Some of the old press guys will only back the idea if an old school manager takes the job, even if they don’t have any history in football administration.

Listen it’s a system that has worked on the continent for decades. It gives the head coach more time to concentrate on the training field and the tactics board or god forbid the laptop! The Director of Football can then oversee the academy, the recruitment and be the middleman between the board and the coach.

It’s not a system used by witches, wizards and dirty evil warlords – It’s actually a well used footballing practice.

Hearts have shown that it can actually work well in Scotland. Various teams down south have shown it works on British soil.

But yet again we have a Scottish footballing snobbery (let the irony sink in) that ‘Oh no we don’t need that here‘.

Ally McCoist seems against the idea, even if he says he’s not:

“I am not against a director of football but it is absolute garbage if anyone thinks that a director of football is going to solve Rangers’ problems right now.

“It is nonsense. I have never heard so much nonsense in all my life.

“Did Jock Stein have a director of football? Alex Ferguson, Walter Smith, Martin O’Neill? No.

Mr Stein was before my time so I can’t really comment. But Sir Alex Ferguson had a huge amount of help from people like Peter Kenyon and Martin Gill who were Man United Chief Executives. While Martin O’Neill had Peter Lawwell at Celtic from 2003. These are active members of the board who took an interest in helping-out their managers. So between them, the managers and Chief Execs filled the role of director of football.

Rangers might feel that they need someone in with previous experience to help run that side of things. Again just because it’s kind of new here, doesn’t mean it’s bad!

Of Course Ally is right, it won’t solve all of Rangers problems and neither will hiring Pedro Caixinha. The club need more investment and that’s plain to see.

But it really is time for our football writers and pundits to sit back, embrace some changes and give people time to settle in before we judge them.

Before this month, very few of us had heard of Pedro Caixinha. Yet a few weeks later we have every pundit and their aunty looking at his CV and stating if he’ll be a success or a Portuguese donkey!

The fact is pretty simple, we need to wait and see what kind a person and coach he’ll be.

After his first press conference no doubt some in the press will have fallen in love with his ideologies and others will slate him for being different. Some will call him the next Jose Mourinho and others will state that he’s the next Paul Le Guen or Dr Jo Venglos.

Maybe this time we can put our crystal balls away and see what the future brings and we can just report the facts and bin the spin.

On that not I’ll leave a tweet from Derek Rae, BT Sport’s chief Scottish commentator who tells us how to say Pedro Caixintha.

I hope this at least helps Kris Boyd:

Craig Shakespeare Starring As Leicester City’s Macbeth

Here’s a very short summary of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth:

Macbeth was a foot-soldier and general to the king of Scotland. Then he hears from a few witches that he’s destined to become Scotland’s next king. The prophecy basically turns Macbeth into a crazed lunatic burning with ambition and with the encouragement of his wife the general kills the Scottish ruler, and Macbeth takes the Scottish throne.

More shit happens; murders, madness and guilt all rear their ugly heads. I won’t spoil the end for you but it’s not great for Macbeth and his lady.

The deceit and ambition that run through one of the bard’s greatest tales, reminds me of Leicester City and all that’s happened recently at the King Power stadium.

Claudio Ranieri seems perfect to play the King Duncan part.

Claudio like Duncan was a generous, successful and sensitive leader. Both were probably slightly naive of those around them and their motives. They both get stabbed in the back for their troubles, obviously metaphorically speaking in the Italian’s case.

Then enters my ‘Macbeth’ character, this will be played by current interim boss Craig Shakespeare.

Now I should point out, for legal reasons, that I’m not accusing Craig of murdering anyone, or being a bit crazy or indeed being evil in anyway.

I’m just questioning his role in all that has gone on at Leicester this term. It’s as if he’s been happy to throw Ranieri under the bus and then let his own burning ambition take hold.

Last season, Shakespeare (Craig not William) along with Steve Walsh, enjoyed all the plaudits with Claudio in guiding the team to their historic Premier League title triumph.

This season as the Foxes struggled, Shakespeare wasn’t really seen as much. All the attention went to the players and the manager. He seemed immune from the criticism from the press or from the the fans and ultimately he was excused of any blame by the board.

Reports suggested that Craig had fallen out with Ranieri, which the interim boss has since denied.

But my main problem with the whole saga has been Shakespeare’s lack of guilt or at least admitting to his own failings.

If things were fundamentally wrong with the management of the football club, then as the assistant manager Shakespeare has to be blamed as well. Surely he’s the man who functions as the go-between with the boss and his players. If a disconnect happened between Ranieri and his squad then surely Craig hasn’t done his job properly?

The players available to Shakespeare are the same as those that Ranieri had kept faith in and the coach has kept with the same tactics that were deployed by the Italian. Yet the Shakespeare has managed to get positive results, whereas Ranieri couldn’t.

So did the players simply down tools under Ranieri?

Possibly but surely they also downed tools for Shakespeare and didn’t play for the fans.

Yet Craig Shakespeare has mentioned in every press conference that he’s capable of taking things forward on a permanent basis:

 “Do I think I can do the job? Yes. Does it faze me? No. I have been a caretaker before. I’ve never been in a press conference quite as big as this! But I’m ready for the challenge.”

Was followed up with:

“I’m clear in my mind the way I want to go with the team and the selection. I won’t be frightened if ever I have to change it.”

There’s no doubting that Shakespeare has done a good job thus far, with the Foxes winning their last two games and moving in the right direction.

The threat of relegation hasn’t disappeared but things are looking brighter. The players have also backed Craig to get the role on a full-time basis.

Again this doesn’t sit well with me.

At no time has Shakespeare or any of his squad apologised to their former boss for the poor results this term. They thanked him for standing by them and for helping them realise the biggest dream of their lives. But again no one at the club has accepted any blame for what happened this season and apologised to the manager.

When pressed about the speculation that senior players helped get Ranieri removed from his position, keeper Kasper Schmeichel went full politician and dodged the question. Instead the Dane would tell the world that the players don’t make business decisions at the football club but at no time did he deny meeting with the club’s hierarchy to discuss Ranieri’s management of the side.

Be in no doubt that the player’s won the league title last season but they also cost their manager his job this term.

Craig Shakespeare also failed in his role as Claudio’s number two. He has simplified training and the tactics but with Ranieri struggling to find any answers this season, I’m sure the Italian would’ve tried anything to rediscover the club’s form. So why didn’t his assistant simplify things before now?

If Claudio Ranieri’s management failed this season, then Craig Shakespeare has to accept he also failed in his duties.

He can have the burning ambition to be the club’s number one and he can be happy with the last two results but for me I just see blood on his and the player’s hands.

Macbeth was just a story, there’s no room in modern day football for guilt. Those currently playing and managing the Foxes have shown the world that.

It’s just a shame that they’ve also managed to turn a fine fairytale into a Shakespearian tragedy!

Will Jose Mourinho Surpass Sir Alex Ferguson At Man United?

Jose Mourinho has already managed to do something at Old Trafford that no other Manchester United manager has done previously, and that’s win a trophy in his debut season.

Yes, it’s true, not even Sir Alex Ferguson managed to taste success in his first season in charge of the Red Devils.

Well Jose has obviously had a great start and his side are still in the hunt to win two more trophies this term. You can find odds of 18/1 on United winning the FA Cup and the Europa League this season, not bad if you fancy beating the bookie!

But would you gamble on Jose beating Fergie’s record haul?

I don’t think I’d take that bet.

Modern-day football has changed so much. Most football managers aren’t afforded the time that was given to Fergie back in the eighties.

When Ferguson arrived in Manchester in late 1986, he didn’t have a strong squad. It took him over three years to win his first trophy and it wasn’t until 1993 that he managed to guide them to the first of his league title wins.

He obviously followed that up with another twelve Premier League triumphs, plus four more FA Cup wins, four League Cup final successes and two Champions League titles. But it took a lot of time to find that winning formula.

Today the board and the United fans demand trophies now! They don’t spend around £89m on Paul Pogba to see their club fail to win any silverware.

Mourinho probably won’t be given six and a half years to build a squad capable to challenge and win England’s top flight.

Everyone at Old Trafford will expect Champions League football next season and will demand that the team challenges for the Premier League title next term too.

So, this season will be deemed as a failure if United don’t win the Europa League or finish in the top four. They need to do one or the other. The fans would prefer it if they could do both.

To meet those demands and to maintain those high standards is tough. Mourinho will no doubt want to succeed at Man Utd and he’ll hope to win one of the main prizes while he’s there, those being to win the Premier League and/or the Champions League.

But the Portuguese boss will need to stay in the job for at least ten years to get anywhere near Fergie’s trophy haul and within those years he’ll need to continually win trophies.

Just a glance at Jose’s illustrious CV will tell you that he’s a winner but a closer inspection will also tell you that he isn’t a manager that hangs around in one place for too long.

He doesn’t make it past three years at a club.

At Inter Milan and at Porto he left a hero, knowing he couldn’t take those sides any further.

During his two stints at Chelsea and at Real Madrid, he would struggle in his third year in charge. He’d fall out with players and he’d fall out with the club’s decision makers.

It’s almost as if paranoia creeps in with Jose and he can’t seem to trust those around him and things start to crumble.

To be as successful as Sir Alex Ferguson was at one club, you need to get through the tough times and be determined to succeed. You also need to know when to pick your battles.

Ferguson famously fell out with his captain Roy Keane in 2005 and the Scots manager decided to release the midfielder. That would have been unthinkable five years earlier, as Keane was a huge player for the club and a big reason for their success in the late nineties and early in the noughties.

But Ferguson spotted that Keane’s powers on the football field had started to fade and he was now a disruptive force inside the United dressing room, so he dumped him.

Could Jose do that? Or would he have tried it at the wrong time?

It’s one part of Jose’s CV that remains unanswered. At United he has to prove his critics wrong and stay beyond that dreaded third year and keep on delivering success.

I honestly think Jose Mourinho is enjoying his time in charge of Manchester United. I think he likes the size of the football club and the tradition that comes with his job. I also think he’s excited by the challenge of getting them back on track after the hangover following on from Ferguson’s exit.

I can also see him getting past that third season and maybe being the United boss for five years or so.

But can he surpass what Sir Alex Ferguson achieved with the Red Devils? Can he stay at Old Trafford beyond ten years, never mind twenty-five?

Nope. I just can’t see many, if any, managers staying at a top-class football club for that amount of time or being as successful as Fergie was at Manchester United.

PSG Could Offer Alexis Sanchez Ideal Escape Route From Arsenal

It looks as thought Alexis Sanches has had enough and wants to leave Arsenal.

The twenty-eight year old was placed on the bench for the start of his sides latest defeat at the hands of Liverpool and the Gunners are now in a battle to retain their place in the Premier League’s top four. 

Reports suggest that the Chilean international has fallen out with his teammates. Other reports also suggest that he has now told Arsene Wenger that he wants to leave in the summer and he won’t be signing a new deal with the London club.

Wenger came out today in his press conference and denied any row with the player but the Gunners gaffer also warned his forward that the club will decided if and when he can leave:

‘Alexis Sanchez has 15 months on his contract so the decision will depend completely on Arsenal football club,’

While I admire Arsene’s stance, I do get the feeling it’s all a bit of a show for the cameras.

Arsenal have shown us in the past that they’d rather sell talent than watch their contracts run down and see those star players leave on a free transfer.

Wenger sold Robin van Perise to Man United and effectively helped Sir Alex Ferguson win his final title in 2012 rather than see the Dutch striker go for nothing a year or so later.

In the last few months you can see Sanchez boil over with frustration on the pitch. He may get a huge wage rise if he were to leave in the summer but I really don’t think that would be his real reason for leaving.

The fact is that Alexis is a winner and he’ll give his all to win. He wants to win more trophies and at Arsenal he probably looks at the squad and thinks they aren’t as talented or as hungry as he is.

Sanchez isn’t a prima-donna in the way of a Carlos Tevez, he’s just passionate about winning and fighting to win.

I suppose one thing recently stands out when thinking of the difference between Sanchez and some of his teammates and it happened against Bournemouth in early January.

The Cherries were three nil up before the hour-mark. Sanchez then scored in the 70th minute to get the comeback started, Lucas Perez then got another back with fifteen minutes to go. Then in injury time, Oliver Giroud scored the dramatic equaliser.

As the ball hit the back of the net on the ninety-second minute, Sanchez stampeded towards the goal to get the ball back to the centre circle so his side could try and get the winner. At  the same time, Giroud was bouncing off celebrating and wasting time. Alexis Sanchez was furious, he couldn’t understand why you’d celebrate a draw when you could go for a victory!

Ultimately it’s results like that and the one against Liverpool on Saturday that keep Arsenal away from challenging for the big trophies and it must drive their number seven demented!

Now looking around Europe, a few destinations spring to mind.

Firstly I don’t see him staying in England. Arsenal really won’t want to sell him to a rival.

A return to Barcelona isn’t on the cards and I doubt Real Madrid will see him as a transfer target.

Staying in La Liga, Atletico Madrid could be an option. Sanchez shares the winning spirit Atleti boss Diego Simeone possess. Talk is rife that Antoine Griezmann is heading to Old Trafford, so Atletico could have a lot of cash to offer in the summer. But the Spanish side have a transfer ban hanging over them, so if that remains the case then he won’t be joining them this summer.

Plus let’s not forget that Simeone has already stated he’ll leave Madrid in the summer of 2018. Would Sanchez want to commit to a team that doesn’t seem to have a long term project and may not be as strong as they once were?

Juventus might be tempted to bring the Chilean back to Italy. Sanchez was sensational at Udinese earlier in his career and a move back to Serie A might work out well for him. But can the Italian giants pay the big fee for a player in their late twenties and also offer him more than £150k a week?

For my money, I think a move to Ligue 1 champions PSG could be on the cards.

The French side have the cash to offer the star the wages he’d be looking for and could also offer enough to get Arsenal around the table to discuss the transfer.

PSG’s huge first leg win and performance over Barca in the Champions League showed the world that the Parisien side can compete against the best teams in Europe. They also win a lot of domestic trophies.

The Qatari owners are always on the lookout to bring in world class talent that will enrich their squad. Sanchez certainly ticks all the boxes on that front.

While Edinson Cavani has impressed with his goal tally this term he still isn’t that blockbuster name Zlatan Ibrahimovic was at the Parc des Princes and doesn’t offer the same work-rate and all-round play the Swede did. Sanchez would be closer in replacing that void Zlatan departure left at the club.

Sanchez as a player can play in a variety of positions and that means that PSG’s boss Unai Emery can use him in various roles. Maybe on the wing, behind Cavan or up-top by himself.

While there are plenty options for Sanchez this summer, staying at Arsenal does seem to be the least likely at this stage.

It seems to me, that the forward has been left frustrated for too long by a staleness that seems to have gripped those around him at the Emirates.

So I’d expect PSG to make a big play for him in the summer and it could be his best option.

Football Betting – How To Start With

Football is definitely an all times favorite and an exciting sport to watch. You can add further thrill to the game by wagering on your favorite team. Today, placing bets on football are pretty easy like never before, thanks to the availability of online sports books which makes available a variety of football betting offers and let you place bets via your mobile or PC in no time.

However, in order to be successful in the online betting process you need to have the right skills & know-how to execute the best possible strategy.

Below are the some of the basics to start with

1) Get Tips Online – You can get some fantastic tips online that can help you save time and focus on your strategy. However, finding the right tips that actual work is not as simple as it sounds. There are free tips pages blatantly copied from legitimate tips sources with significant twists or from proclaimed experts with limited knowledge.

Authentic & genuine betting tips are always based on carefully drafted analysis & advance knowledge of the betting process. Paid sports betting tips can be the best choice since you will get the best available tips for a very small amount.

By keeping these betting tips in mind and applying those in time will help you increase your chances of winning. If you do not like the idea of paying money for tips, then you should do a little more searching and find a decent free service.

2) Find the best online sports book – Make sure that you select the best online sports book. Check for reviews online and player’s feedback in order to pick the cream of crop.

3) Get Your Time Right – Time management is the key while placing your bets. Though you can place your bits any time you want but placing them too early can simply ruin your chances at winning.

Rangers Need To Find A New Manager ASAP

History has shown us that Rangers don’t work well when in turmoil and while being bossed by someone out of their depth.

In early 2007, club stalwart Ian Durrant struggled when he was handed the managerial reigns after Paul Le Guen disappeared from the Govan hotseat.

The club went into decline in December 2014 when the then Gers board placed Ally McCoist on gardening leave and replaced him with his assistant boss Kenny McDowall.

Only Scooby-Doo seems to have more issues with caretakers than Rangers Football Club.

No matter the circumstances of Mark Warburton’s departure, the Rangers board have been too slow in reacting to the drama and bringing in a suitable replacement.

The promotion of Graeme Murty from Head of Youth Development to caretaker boss hasn’t worked.

Murty looks a decent fellow but he doesn’t look like a football manager. He fails to convince in the press conferences, he often looks like a rabbit caught in the headlights and his team have now lost two in a row against Dundee and then on Friday night against Scottish Premiership’s bottom side Inverness Caley Thistle.

Many of Gers squad resemble silly school kids who are acting up because they’ve got a substitute teacher running the class. They’ve defended poorly and not shown the hunger needed to succeed at Ibrox.

The board need to bring in a boss and do it now.

They might say that they’re taking their time to make the right decision and might want to hire a director of football before recruiting a new boss.

That’s all very well and good but in the meantime they’ve fallen nine points behind Aberdeen and the Dons look a very good bet in securing second spot in the Scottish Premiership come the end of the season.

I can’t understand why Rangers chairman Dave King and his fellow board members don’t call Alex McLeish and have the experienced coach takeover until the end of the season.

The former Gers gaffer knows the job inside out and could mount a challenge for second place and make a push for the Scottish Cup.

A stop gap appointment like that would then allow the board to make a full time appointment in the summer. They could then bring in a Director of Football first and have him take part in the search for a new boss.

It’s clear for everyone to see that the current circumstances are doing nothing but harm and Rangers need to start steadying the ship now. If they can build confidence between now and the end of the current campaign then that gives whoever the boss will be in the summer some positive foundations to build upon.

Continued chaos will just see fans turning on the board and the team. The players will also want out, while outsiders will look at the club and think it’s a just a circus and not one they want to join.

Don’t Be Surprised If Man Utd’s Wayne Rooney Leaves For China After Final

Despite his best efforts at the start of the season, Jose Mourinho hasn’t been able to fit Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney into his starting eleven.

The forward can’t start up-top because thirty-five year old Zlatan Ibrahimovic offers more as a lone striker and the Swede has been in sensational form since signing in the summer. Rooney then has two young hitmen in Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial as Zlatan’s natural replacements.

The England captain doesn’t offer enough to play on the wings and doesn’t seem disciplined enough to play as a central midfielder.

As an outsider looking in, Rooney’s best position could now be as a number ten. Jose seems to prefer playing a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1.

When it’s a 4-2-3-1 then Rooney has a chance on playing but he also knows that he’s up against Juan Mata and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. At the moment these are players that seem to offer more. Plus Man Utd’s number ten seems to get in the way of Paul Pogba when the two play in the same side.

Summer transfer talk has already started, suggesting Man Utd want to bring Antoine Griezmann to Old Trafford in the summer. That would be another huge deal and another forward that keeps Wayne out of the starting line-up.

At thirty-one, Wayne Rooney will believe that he needs to play. He currently gets around £250k a week, so the club’s hierarchy will want to see him playing, if he’s not up to the task then they’ll want to ship him out.

Rooney’s important equaliser against Stoke City in January saw him overtake Sir Bobby Charlton’s all-time leading goalscoring record for United. That goal was hugely significant for the striker as it accomplished a great achievement. But after all the celebration and relief, you’ve got to believe that Wayne and his advisors must have thought ‘what now?

Is there really anything he needs to now at Man United?

That’s the multi-million pound question.

Reports today state that his agent has arrived in China to look at the possibility of his client joining a Chinese Super League club.

The move will earn Rooney an absolute fortune. Only in China could he actually top his current wage at United.

Be in no doubt, Chinese clubs will be falling over themselves to get Wayne Rooney. He’s the current England captain, he is Man United’s all-time top goalscorer and he’s also England’s leading scorer too.

The Chinese market want a world known footballer to boost their image and Rooney will do that. The Chinese fans also believe that the Premier League is the best in the world and the England hitman has been one of it’s biggest stars for over a decade now.

I doubt Man United would stand in his way if he wanted to make the move. To get around £30m for an ageing player who is currently out of the team and earning £250k a week is a football accountant’s dream!

It might allow England manager Gareth Southgate the best opportunity to phase his captain out of the squad too.

So if Rooney is serious about a move to the far east then it could still happen this month. He’d have to assess whether or not he could adapt to the culture and lifestyle that China would bring.

But what better way to depart the Red Devils, he could lift the League Cup as the club captain on his final day and then jet off for Beijing and start a new adventure there.

Current Arsenal Situation Is Totally Different From Fergie’s Man Utd Exit

The talk of Arsene Wenger leaving Arsenal this summer hit fever pitch after the Gunners loss to Bayern Munich.

The talk of the Frenchman’s departure has lead to pundits and journalists to warn Arsenal fans that the grass might not be greener at the Emirates, if Wenger does indeed head for the exit door.

One main argument I’ve seen, is that Arsenal may suffer from the same hangover Manchester United did when fellow legendary gaffer Sir Alex Ferguson left his job at Old Trafford in 2013.

United are now onto their third manager since Sir Alex left and have failed to win the Premier League since his final title during his last season.

Now I’m not saying getting rid of Wenger will guarantee success at Arsenal but I also don’t think there’s much similarities between his potential resignation and Fergie’s retirement.

The only real similarity is the length of time served at their clubs. But the situations are very different.

Yes Ferguson left United as a champion but he also realised that his team’s cycle had ran it’s final race and he would need to change his squad yet again and that would take time and a lot of effort. At seventy-one years of age, Fergie felt the project was too big, he needed to have a rest and spend time with his family.

Arsenal don’t need to totally rebuild the current squad, they just need to add a few capable reinforcements, tie down their best players and get the best out of their current pool.

Wenger has said a few times this season that his players haven’t been up to it mentally.

Discussing the Bayern collapse, he stated his players were:

“mentally very jaded”

Now that may be true but surely it’s Wenger’s job to make sure his side aren’t so mentally fragile. Is he basically admitting after poor results that he’s not done all he can to get the best from his squad?

The Arsene Wenger that turned up in England back in 1996 was meticulous in everything he did. He wouldn’t have allowed such a weakness to creep into his team.

I don’t think Arsene has lost the dressing room, not for a second, the players respect him and all he has done. I do worry that he struggles to get fire into his player’s bellies and get the best performances from his stars in the bigger games.

Arsenal continue making the same mistakes they were making three and four years ago, that shows us that Arsene can’t solve the issues that have hampered his team for a few years now.

I’ve said it before but I truly think Arsene has lost his cutting edge at the Gunners.

It happened after the move to the Emirates and he had to work on a tighter budget than the rest of the title challengers. His main objective seemed to be qualifying for the Champions League every season. To be fair to him, his team would meet that objective every season.

That’s kept up the club’s profile and brought in great revenue streams. But Wenger has failed to get his side back to thinking like champions.

I don’t think Wenger would necessarily be finished as a football manager if he were to quit his Gunners gig. I could see him going elsewhere and doing well in whatever role he would take up next.

At United, Ferguson didn’t have the same constraints Wenger had with a stadium move. So Sir Alex never lost the ruthless desire to win things at all costs. That desire is hard to replicate and it’s also extremely difficult to follow on from, especially if the team needs a whole lot of changes.

So for me, I don’t think Arsenal as a football club would have the same problems replacing Arsene Wenger that Man United had when filling the void left by Fergie.

As I’ve already said, the Arsenal side are actually pretty good. They just seem to need more belief, better preparation and a few more top stars.

That could be an ideal job for a hungry successful coach but only if Wenger decides he’s had enough and calls it a day at the Emirates.